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The Parents Music Resource Center

September 19, 2013

“Wait, what are you talking about, WE decided? MY best interests? How do you know what MY best interest is? How can you say what MY best interest is? What are you trying to say? I’M crazy? When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities? So how can you say I’M crazy?”
– Mike Muir, Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized”, 1983

“It’s much more fun to be a God than a person”
– Tipper Gore, co-founder of the Parents Music Resource Center, former second lady, wife of Al Gore

Ever wonder where this little warning label came from?

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It came from this woman: Tipper Gore

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The PMRC was founded by four women: Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. They were known as the “Washington wives.” Their goal, or “demands” (as printed in the Washington Post) were as follows:

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1. Print lyrics on album covers.
2. Keep explicit covers under the counter.
3. Establish a ratings system for records similar to that for films.
4. Establish a ratings system for concerts.
5. Reassess the contracts of performers who engage in violence and explicit sexual behavior onstage.
6. Establish a citizen and record-company media watch that would pressure broadcasters not to air “questionable-talent.”

In 1985 the PMRC went so far as to propose a senate hearing on the debate, and it was actually held on September 19th of that same year.

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Quoted from Wikipedia: “In August 1985, 19 record companies agreed to put “Parental Guidance: Explicit Lyrics” labels on albums to warn of explicit lyrical content. Before the labels could be put into place, the Senate agreed to hold a hearing on so-called “porn rock”. Representatives from the PMRC, three musicians — Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, John Denver—and Senators Paula Hawkins and Al Gore testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on “the subject of the content of certain sound recordings and suggestions that recording packages be labeled to provide a warning to prospective purchasers of sexually explicit or other potentially offensive content.”

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The senate hearing was more of a mockery than a serious debate. Sides had already been chosen, and the crowd in attendance couldn’t help but laugh and chuckle throughout the entire event. Lyrics from bands like the Mentors were read aloud:

(From the Senate hearing transcripts) Jeff Ling, consultant to the PMRC: “How bad can it get? The list is endless. This album was released just recently by a band called the Mentors. The album includes songs like “Four-F Club,” “Find Her, Feel Her, Fuck Her, and Forget Her,” “Free Fix for a Fuck,” “Clap Queen,” “My Erection is Over,” and the song “Golden Showers,” which says these words, “Listen, you little slut, do as you are told, come with daddy for me to pour the gold. Golden showers. All through my excrement you shall roam. Bend up and smell my anal vapor. Your face is my toilet paper. On your face I leave a shit tower. Golden showers”,
making everyone involved beg the question: “why are we wasting time on this?”

After watching this on C-Span, I immediately went out and bought the Mentors album.

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The PMRC also released their list of the “filthy fifteen”:
Prince “Darling Nikki” Sex/Masturbation
Sheena Easton “Sugar Walls” Sex
Judas Priest “Eat Me Alive” Sex
Vanity “Strap on Robbie Baby” Sex
Mötley Crüe “Bastard” Violence/Language
AC/DC “Let Me Put My Love into You” Sex
Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Violence
Madonna “Dress You Up” Sex
W.A.S.P. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” Sex/Language
Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” Drug and alcohol use
Mercyful Fate “Into the Coven” Occult
Black Sabbath “Trashed” Drug and alcohol use
Mary Jane Girls “In My House” Sex
Venom “Possessed” Occult
Cyndi Lauper “She Bop” Sex/Masturbation

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The original label looked like this:

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Which basically translated to this:

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3 varied musicians testified as to the legality and absurdity of the hearing, and were unanimous in opposing any possible legislation regarding this issue. They argued that including a warning label to a musical artist would stigmatize that artist and could ruin their career. They also agreed upon the fact that deciding whats appropriate for your child starts at home, and no government or agency should decide what is moral right or just for any private citizens family. Frank Zappa summed this up perfectly ” I think you should leave it up to the parents, because not all parents want to keep their children totally ignorant. ”

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From the testimony of Frank Zappa:

The PMRC has created a lot of confusion with improper comparisons between song lyrics, videos, record packaging, radio broadcasting, and live performances. These are all different mediums and the people who work in them have the right to conduct their business without trade-restraining legislation, whipped up like an instant pudding by “The wives of Big Brother.”

The establishment of a rating system, voluntary or otherwise, opens the door to an endless parade of moral quality control programs based on things certain Christians do not like. What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow “J” on all material written or performed by Jews, in order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine?

Bad facts make bad law, and people who write bad laws are in my opinion more dangerous than songwriters who celebrate sexuality. Freedom of speech, freedom of religious thought, and the right to due process for composers, performers and retailers are imperiled if the PMRC and the major labels consummate this nasty bargain.

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Senator Al Gore: “I have listened to you a number of times on this issue, and I guess the statement that I want to get from you is whether or not you feel this concern is legitimate. You feel very strongly about your position, and I understand that. You are very articulate and forceful. But occasionally you give the impression that you think parents are just silly to be concerned at all.

Frank Zappa: “No; that is not an accurate impression. ”

Gore: “Well, please clarify it, then.

Zappa: “First of all, I think it is the parents’ concern; it is not the Government’s concern. ”

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Next up was John Denver:

These hearings have been called to determine whether or not the Government should intervene to enforce this practice. Mr. Chairman, this would approach censorship. May I be very clear that I am strongly opposed to censorship of any kind in our society or anywhere else in the world. Discipline and self-restraint when practiced by an individual, a family, or a company is an effective way to deal with this issue. The same thing when forced on a people by their government or, worse, by a self-appointed watchdog of public morals, is suppression and will not be tolerated in a democratic society.

That which is denied becomes that which is most desired, and that which is hidden becomes that which is most interesting. Consequently, a great deal of time and energy is spent trying to get at what is being kept from you. Our children, our people, our society and the world cannot afford this waste. The only thing we have to fear, as President Roosevelt said, is fear itself. I am not afraid of anything. I am not afraid of what my children might see. I am not afraid of anything that might be shown them or done in their presence that would lessen my influence on them or their opportunity to grow, to be fine upstanding adults, and perhaps some day serve in this very august body.

(As a side note John had to leave the hearing early because he had an appointment to speak with NASA)

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And then came…Dee:

Accusation No. 1. This attack was contained in an article written by Tipper Gore, which was given the forum of a full page in my hometown newspaper on Long Island. In this article Ms. Gore claimed that one of my songs, “Under the Blade,” had lyrics encouraging sadomasochism, bondage, and rape.

The lyrics she quoted have absolutely nothing to do with these topics. On the contrary, the words in question are about surgery and the fear that it instills in people. Furthermore, the reader of this article is led to believe that the three lines she quotes go together in the song when, as you can see, from reading the lyrics, the first two lines she cites are an edited phrase from the second verse and the third line is a misquote of a line from the chorus.

That the writer could misquote me is curious, since we make it a point to print all our lyrics on the inner sleeve of every album. As the creator of “Under the Blade,” I can say categorically that the only sadomasochism, bondage, and rape in this song is in the mind of Ms. Gore.

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Yea, it is unfair to be mis-quoted isn’t it. That’s why Ms.Gore was purposely mis-quoted at the beginning of this article. It is done for shock value, and it almost always works. The actual quote reads as follows:

“Though Al Gore’s reinvention as a Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist has led to many accolades, he eventually has to come home where “his wife knows he puts his pants on one leg at a time.”

“It’s much more fun to be a God than a person,” she (Tipper) said. (Source: abcnews.go.com)

So…what effect did all this have on the music industry in the long run? Practically nothing. After the fervor died down, things pretty much went back to normal. Almost all of the music and artists targeted had increased record sales, and due to changing climate and technology in the music industry, there were bigger problems, real problems, looming on the horizon. Most notably something called Napster…

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Take Lady GaGa for example. She has 40 million followers on Twitter, 59 million on Facebook and 17 million on Instagram. And yes, her cd cover does contain the warning label. Looks like no one cares. And that is Tipper Gore’s legacy. You can go back to not knowing who she is now.

It must also be noted that In June 2010, the Gores announced their marital separation, “a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration.” In August 2012, the New York Times reported that both Gores were dating other people and have no plans to resume marriage, but that their “bond endures”.

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Tipper Gore is still legally married and his having sex with another man. That’s adultery. Shame shame on you Tipper. Shame shame on you.

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From → music

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on The Thousand Yard Stare and commented:
    I remember hearing that Al was going to be VP and I was like, “Hey, isn’t his wife responsible for that lunacy that was the PMRC?” Nobody but us old age folks remember how dumb that witch hunt was.

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